I’m a self-pronounced
sucker for books. Show me a pile of books anywhere – be it the street, someone’s
shelf or even a dungeon (actually it’s better if it’s a dungeon) – and you’ve
lost me until I decide it’s about time to return. Leave me with a book and I cease to exist in the world of the living. It’s an
addiction – harmless compared to most others and the only area I need help is with
finding space where my prized possessions can find a haven (an ever growing
need post my exit from the latest book exhibition that hits town).
I’ve written about the effect ‘reading’ has on me. And it’s come
up in conversations with friends and in write-ups I’ve read that by the sheer
beauty through which a reader is drawn into the world of the author and into
the minds of the characters to not just experience what they experience but
also understand ‘the why’ behind it makes reading books a lot more of an intimate
relationship than perhaps the ones we share with the people around us.
It’s to this
point that I’d like to add that books based on real people and true stories
make for an even more interesting read simply because there is a different
thrill in knowing the story of someone you haven’t met but exists somewhere at
the kerb around the globe.
that ‘right book’ – the one that makes you exclaim ‘this is my kind of book’ –
has always been a challenge for me. A couple of years ago when I’d walked into
a book exhibition I bore an extremely confused look because I didn’t know where
to begin. Too many rows of books to scan through; too spoilt for choice and I didn’t
want to walk away having missed that one book that was probably just ‘right for
me’ and it made me think: Now that's a lot like love!
books, seldom have recommendations from friends worked well for me. And there’s
no secret formula to finding ‘the’ book; sometimes reading up books by the same
author work out well (sometimes they don’t) and sometimes you launch yourself
into reading an entire series (think Inheritance Trilogy, Millennium Trilogy,
Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones etc etc etc). Now of these, I’ve only read
the Millennium Trilogy in its entirety. I didn’t ever get started with Harry
Potter or Lord of the Rings (yes, I heard the gasp – heard one too many in the
the point: something about the book has to resonate beyond the superficial
level. Beyond the hype the publishing house is able to create or the popularity
of the film based on the book is intended to generate.
right book’ does is, it cracks me up, leaving me giggling and grinning in public
spaces least bothered about what people make of my sudden cackle while simultaneously
knocks a blow straight into my guts, wrenching my insides through the most
simplest wordplay when characters dialogue mirroring life as it is!
for a book is also true for any kind of companionship (after all my daily
commute to work is not without this companion). And what a right companion can
do is be honest, be present and be non-judgmental.
And what’s even better is that if your stars are aligned, you can enjoy the company of two of
the right things: the right book with the right companion. Because sometimes a
companion listens and sometimes a book talks (it’s in those moments that you
lift your gaze from the page and stare into the horizon for a brief moment to
take in a certain revelation).
To conclude, “In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” ― Mortimer J. Adler.
In keeping with the theme of companionship, is what's true for books also true for people, then?